Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 1 Review - An Enjoyable But Slightly Familiar Crossover

Lovable and oft-distracted Michaelangelo? Check. Brooding and hot-headed Raphael? Check. Love of [...]

Batman Turtles Vol 1 Header
(Photo: DC / IDW)

When you have two fan favorites such as DC's iconic Dark Knight and the heroes in a half shell, the crossover appeal is quite high.

With media companies so tied to their own Intellectual Property these days, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not a project you actually expect to see, but lo and behold here we are. DC and IDW have teamed up to deliver a tale worthy of both franchise's fans, and thanks to the creative team of James Tynion IV, Freddie E. Williams, & Jeremy Colwell, they actually managed to pull it off.

From a story perspective, neither side of this equation is strong enough to stand on its own, but together makes the adventure all worthwhile. I wouldn't recommend this to just a Batman fan, or just a TMNT fan for that specific reason. The love of both properties needs to be within the reader to fully appreciate how at ease writer James Tynion navigates both universe's rich histories.

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(Photo: DC Comics / IDW)

Lovable and oft-distracted Michaelangelo? Check. Brooding and hot-headed Raphael? Check. Love of Pizza above all else? Check. All the hallmarks of the Turtles are here, but the most commendable part of Tynion's work here is his job on Shredder. The Turtle's main nemesis has at times throughout his history been made to look like a buffoon, something that no amount of sharp pointy armor accouterments can overcome. Tynion brings Shredder's mind for strategy to the forefront, along with his willingness to do whatever is necessary to achieve his goals. He holds his own when in the company of Gotham's most notable rogues because of this renewed focus, and while the Gotham villains get a bit shafted in the process, it was more important to build Shredder up to be a credible villain. Everyone already knows what villains like The Joker and Mr. Freeze are capable of.

If you're going to make Oroku Saki a true threat, you have to do the same for his opposite, more commonly known as Splinter, and Tynion doesn't miss a beat there either. He doesn't go overboard, but the action the sensei does see showcases just why he is still so highly revered.

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(Photo: DC Comics)

The book has a variety of action sequences, and all of them benefit from the frenzied pencils of Freddie Williams II. His work is wonderfully complemented by Jeremy Colwell's colors, which focus on keeping things bright and colorful as opposed to painting the scenery with the same melancholy tones we've seen used on Gotham time and time again.

It should also be noted that Williams draws some of the best Turtles around, and there are several pages featuring the foursome that are just absolutely stunning. His Batman isn't bad either, but unfortunately, he pales in comparison to William's work on the Turtles.

Story wise there isn't a great deal of complexity here, as it's more about coming together to fight the combined force of their new foes. You've seen this play out before in umpteen other team-ups, but there is a great deal of fun to be had here, and the book's general lightheartedness keeps you interested all the way to the end, even when all the dimension hopping starts to become the story's focus.

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(Photo: DC Comics)

It's not the deepest book, but there is one fantastic character moment between Batman and Raphael towards the end of the volume. Overall the story could have used a few more of those character bits, but maybe that is being saved for a future team-up. The lack of them doesn't make the story less enjoyable, but for those looking for more character depth aren't going to find it here.

For fans of these long running franchises, though, there is a lot of fun to be had here, and it's more than well worth a read.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Written By: James Tynion IV

Drawn By: Freddie E Williams II

Colored By: Jeremy Colwell

Lettered By: Tom Napolitano